Every now and then, I need to release a rant. Today is one of those days.
Last week, I was doing what I usually do, heading to the gym to get a lift in before going out for a run.
Then, from the corner of the gym, the thunderous “Boom! Boom!” The unmistakable sound of large dumbbells being dropped on the floor.
Not long after, right next to me, a dude is working some sort of exercise on the cables. When he’s done, he just drops the bar that the cable was attached to, leading the plates on the other end to crash down loudly.
I cannot begin to tell you how much this irritates me. Of all the bad habits in the gym, this one is the worst. If I, with my modest 175-pound frame, can lift and then haul 80- and 90-pound dumbbells back to the rack without a resulting cacophony, why can’t everyone else?
Carelessly dumping the weight to the ground or on the stack when you’re finished shows a lack of consideration for anyone else around you. I know I’m not alone in thinking this.
So why do people do this? Who are the types of people who do this? Let me enlighten you…
The “Look at Me! I’m strong!” lifter. This guy is the dude who grabs the big dumbbells or loads up the bar with a bunch of plates. He’ll breathe really loud and grunt a bunch. Might even yell out a bit to psyche himself up. But if that does not get your attention (and satisfy his urge to have everyone around him know he’s in “beast mode”), then there’s always the tried and true tactic of dropping those heavy weights on the ground with a triumphant thud.
Note to this guy: We probably already know you’re lifting something heavy. We just don’t care all that much. And we care even less when you drop your weights. If you’re strong enough to hoist that thing, you’re strong enough to put it down peacefully without all the drama. Please stop.
The tough guy. A lot like the guy above, the tough guy varies somewhat in that he doesn’t necessarily want to impress you with his lift. Instead, he forcibly lets you know that he doesn’t care about the weights, the gym or you. It doesn’t matter if that loud clang cracks a plate on the machine or breaks the welds on a dumbbell. Tough guy doesn’t care. He walks away from his dropped weight (and resulting crash) like The Rock walks away from fiery cinematic explosions. Consequently, this is also the guy who throttles his Harley in the subdivision or peels out of the grocery store in his bad-ass ’97 Mustang. In his mind, perception is reality, and he wants you to perceive that he’s gangsta-tough.
Note to this guy: You don’t look tough. You look like a douche. And like the fella who drives the overly blinged-up sports car or the giant tricked-out pickup, your gym behavior indicates you’re probably making up for shortcomings in, er, other areas.
The “one rep too far” guy. I appreciate this dude’s effort. Not wanting to slack, trying his hardest to squeeze out every ounce of effort he can to make progress, this guy is going to burn it out until he can’t lift any more. And when muscle failure arrives, he just can’t help himself – or resist gravity. All his strength gone, the weight wins – and falls loudly to the ground.
Note to this guy: Chances are, if you’re dropping the weight because of muscle failure, you might be doing it wrong. And however tired you are, you should still have enough control to rest your weight carefully down. Don’t let your fatigue dictate your behavior. If you lose control of your weight, something’s wrong. And it’s not fatigue.
The injured guy. This dude drops the weight because, in mid-rep, something pops. Or tears. Pain ensues, and the lift must be stopped. This sometimes means dropping the weight. This is understandable. And for the most part, you get a pass. Injuries happen. But…
Note to this guy: Injuries don’t happen in a vacuum. Maybe your training style makes you prone to injuries. Or perhaps your eyes were bigger than your pecs and there was just too much weight in your hands. Or possibly your form sucks. Whenever an injury occurs, you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing to make sure this doesn’t turn into a chronic thing. I’m not saying all injuries are the fault of the lifter. Sometimes freaky stuff just happens. But in most cases, your injury is related to something you did – or did wrong.
Weight rooms can be noisy places. It’s hard not to make noise when you’re deadlifting, or performing Olympic lifts. But for the most part, you can lift right, lift under control, and lift with some consideration to others training and to gym owners by not dropping your stuff. It doesn’t make you look strong, tough or dedicated. It makes you look rude, douchey and out of control.
So stop already!